One of the biggest disappointments during the 2011 season for the Green Bay Packers was the overall play of Jermichael Finley. Even though he is coming off the best statistical season of his career (55 receptions, 767 yards and eight touchdowns), he was still expected to do much better.
On Wednesday, Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com reported on what Finley said following practice. One thing that instantly caught my attention is when Finley states,
“I would say no offseason program. I couldn’t get the chemistry with the QB.”
This is a revealing comment because chemistry is arguably the most important thing between a quarterback and his receiver. If the two aren’t on the same page, it’s unlikely that positive events will take place.
So, is this comment from Finley regarding his chemistry with Aaron Rodgers something to be concerned about?
The best case scenario is that Finley and Rodgers find their chemistry with a full offseason together and Finley puts up numbers similar to Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints or Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots. Finley absolutely has the potential to become a truly special player in this league, but he has yet to fully tap into that potential.
If the reason for that has been chemistry, and that gets fixed, the sky is really the limit for him as a player. With his ability to create mismatches on all levels of the field, Finley could instantly become the best tight end in the league.
When you consider that Finley had what many teams would consider a successful year lacking chemistry with his quarterback, it’s scary to think what he might do if chemistry between him and Rodgers starts to formulate. Of course, chemistry has nothing to do with hands, but I’m assuming that Finley will also become more focused on the game in this best-case scenario.
This is going to be a little scary.
The worst-case scenario for Finley is that there simply isn’t any chemistry between him and Rodgers and what we’ve seen for the past three years is exactly what we’ll get as far as production goes. Is that something to be upset about?
It would be quite disheartening to know that a player with so much potential can’t fully tap into it, but considering that Green Bay already has the best offense in the NFL, anything above what Finley produced in 2011 would be an added bonus. While the short-term effects wouldn’t be too harmful to Green Bay, the long-term situation is what is more concerning.
Obviously if Finley doesn’t produce like the Packers expect him to they won’t re-sign him after the 2014 season. My guess is that there are probably 31 other teams in the NFL that would love the opportunity to get a player like Finley on their roster.
So, let’s say that Finley goes to another team and finds the right chemistry with that quarterback. He becomes the best tight end in the league, tears apart every defense that he faces and becomes the Packers’ worst nightmare.
Since we’re talking about the worst-case scenario, I forgot to mention that he signs with a team in the NFC North.
The likely outcome is that Finley falls in-between these two scenarios, with a lean more towards the best-case scenario. If chemistry was truly the problem of last year, I don’t see any reason why Rodgers and Finley can’t fix that. Neither player is known as being selfish of too much of a man to improve their game.
Finley is simply too talented and too much of a weapon to not continue to improve. Look for him to establish himself as one of the two or three best tight ends in the NFL after a full offseason of chemistry lessons, making the Packers an even scarier team offensively.Follow @MatthewJStein